Sunday, August 11, 2013

pots & pans: cotman compact set

When I first arrived in the UK and was giddy with the high of being in London again after 5 long years HUZZAH, I may have staggered into the London Graphic Centre during a summer sale and bought a set of watercolours for less than £10.

The Winsor & Newton Cotman Compact Set is actually one of W&N's most downmarket colour sets. W&N is the everyman paint company, and Cotman is its budget brand for students.

Still, some of my best work was done with really cheap kids' paint--Golden was the cheapest, but Prang tempera is still one of my favourite art materials--so I was excited to give it a try.

Since I got this set I've used it pretty often, as you will have noticed in the past few posts. It's not as waxy as Prang but just as bright. It comes with 14 colour pans, but you can also buy individual colours. I swapped out 2 pans, because I am a little bit crazy about Prussian Blue and Payne's Grey and cannot conceive of leaving them out of any art set if I can possibly get them.

Because of the construction of the box, though, I can still pack the Chinese White and Pale Cadmium Red in the saucer that fits in the thumb space (seen here clipped to the side). I can even fit my mini Sakura Koi waterbrush (thanks, Mom! ♥) in the central groove, alongside the surprisingly usable synthetic brush that comes with the set.

One word of caution though: I had to fix the pans to the bottom of their trays with dabs of blu-tack, as they tend to pop out and spill everywhere and are a pain to sort out again. The paint blocks eventually stick to the trays with use, but I helped them along by wetting the bottom of the blocks and sticking them down, like votive candles. Otherwise, this is a really cute little box that is a pleasure to use!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I have a box of Windsor Newton myself- similar to the one you have; I'm no expert and I hardly use watercolor these days but it's a pretty good brand and the colors come out vibrant and real pigmented :) - Saki